Images courtesy of the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York
People have always had to wear clothing that was dictated by their work, be it the agricultural worker whose garments had to protect them from the elements, or the monarch in ceremonial attire, designed to convey high status and good taste. But what about leisurewear? Historians of leisure often find the choices that people make when they are not at work, that is when they can choose to do in their own free time, more interesting than other topics. Choosing what is worn in leisure is part of that bigger topic. Some people like to look ‘sporty’ and the latest catwalk trends of the big brands have reflected what is now called Sports Luxe, as, for example trainers are now both available as highly collectible limited edition items, and branded by fashion’s big names and running to several hundred pounds per pair, for say Gucci, Valentino or McQueen. So popular are comfortable sports clothing trends now that many people wear outfits influenced by sports clothing. But how, historically did those trends come about?
Athletic wear and the nineteenth century
As more people moved into towns and cities, the growing middle class appropriated the rural clothing of aristocrats as part of a leisure look. More working class men relied upon moleskin trousers and Norfolk jackets. About town, wearing Tweeds was a way of embodying the landscape. Many of those who went to public schools wore caps and colours that they continued to promote as ‘Old Boys’. The bookish ‘aesthetic type’ looked very different from the athlete. The healthy body was a metaphor for good breeding, and embodied the figure of the athletic hero & chivalric codes.
Many of the newly codified sports, included a uniform and prescriptive regulations about what may and may not be worn, often adapted from the military. Club uniforms acted as sign of belonging and signified that the member was not part of the 'great unattached'. Eventually these club badges became brands and dressmakers and tailors realised they could multiply trade by becoming ‘club tailors’. By the 1890s a specialist ‘sports goods’ manufacturing industry had been mechanised and sold widely, and sports clothing became gradually worn as a sign that the person had leisure, even when not actively pursuing a particular sporting goal.
So even by the end of the nineteenth century, wearing tennis shoes in the street had become an indicator of a fashionable and modern outlook, a statement that the person could afford more than one pair of shoes, and liked a generally less formal approach to dress. These trends would accelerate across the twentieth century as sport and leisure became more widely available, and the Norfolk jacket would become a sports jacket, and, for women, hemlines gradually rose in line with the freedom to move.
Images courtesy of the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York
Sportswear and Heritage Brands
What few people realize today, even when wearing the sporting heritage brands that are associated with Britain, is that many began to trade as a result of that most British of conversation pieces: what to wear to cope with the British weather? Many British clothing and sports brands began to diversify in tailor-made designs at the luxury end of the market and selling cheaper ready-to wear to the expanding middle classes. After trade-marking a shower-proof textile in 1853, the company of John Emery became ‘Aqua-scutum’, the Latin for water- shield, following which its wrappers and coats became modish for the urban elite but also for field sports and angling. Thomas Burberry formed his eponymous company as a 21-year-old Hampshire tailor in 1856, launching a stylish gabardine fabric in 1880 and registering his brand logo as a trademark in 1900. Slazenger began to trade as a rainwear business in Manchester in 1881, moved to London, and trademarked its lawn tennis rackets and balls, which gained added international status by becoming standard equipment at Wimbledon championships. Pringle of Scotland, formed by Robert Pringle in 1815 as a hosiery and underwear manufacturer, moved into cashmere in the 1870s and became the celebrity golf-wear of choice from then on.
The British were by no means alone. In France, the Hermès fashion house was founded as a harness shop by an innkeeper’s son, Thierry Hermès, who hand-sewed equestrian products using two needles working in tensile resistance to create a saddle stitch that was virtually indestructible. This technological advance created an elite following, including Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and Napoleon III, who commissioned bespoke saddles and harnesses. Twentieth-century style icons such as Jackie Onassis went on to make the Hermès Constance bag part of an haute couture wardrobe.
Hermès brand heritage as a manufacturer of sporting and luxury goods is signalled both in the production of custom-made saddles and related sporting goods (ranging from £4,000 upwards) to silk scarves that Queen Elizabeth II has favoured since a young woman. The Galop Chromatique, the monarch’s preferred style of scarf, currently retails at £280. Watches, perfumes, goods for the home and other brand diversification still bear the tagline ‘A Sporting Life!’.
Although the scale and range of Sports Luxe now encompasses several heritage brands and a range of price points, there are long historical precedents and many brands began with technological innovations that improved the leisure experience of the wearer. We are used to such innovations and expect both our work and leisure wear, as well as high performance sporting goods to help our performance whether worn in formal or informal situations. Enjoy your kit!
BBC 2 is launching Icons, its most ambitious search for the greatest person of the 20th Century, in January 2019. The series will be promoted via various platforms, including across the BBC, TV, radio and online. The series will also feature on The One Show, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 3 and Radio 5 live. In addition BBC local radio will be highlighting the connections that the icons have had around the UK, and inviting audiences to vote for their favourite icon in the most ambitious BBC history series in over a decade. Made by 72 Films, co-produced with The Open University, for BBC Two and in connection with the National Portrait Gallery online for free. For more information, visit https://www.npg.org.uk. If you would like to get involved, more voting information can be found at: www.bbc.co.uk/icons.
The Series Format of Icons
Across seven episodes, celebrity advocates will celebrate the achievements of twenty eight of the greatest figures of the 20th Century, from seven different categories of human excellence. Each celebrity advocate will guide viewers through hour-long episodes dedicated to four shortlisted Icons in each category. Voting begins at the end of each programme, at 10pm, and is open until 4pm the next day. More voting information can be found at: www.bbc.co.uk/icons Then the grand live final will decide the favourite icons by public vote.
Leaders Tuesday 8 January 2019
Winston Churchill, Franklin D Roosevelt, Margaret Thatcher and Nelson Mandela
Presented by Sir Trevor McDonald
Explorers 9 January 2019
Ernest Shackleton, Gertrude Bell, Neil Armstrong and Jane Goodall
Presented by Dermot O’Leary
The finalists from Leaders and Explorers will be revealed on Thursday 10 January 2019 live on The One Show (BBC One, 19-19.30pm).
Scientists 14 January 2019
Marie Curie, Alan Turing, Albert Einstein and Tu Youyou
Presented by Chris Packham
Entertainers 15 January 2019
Charlie Chaplin, Billie Holiday, Marilyn Monroe, David Bowie
Presented by Kathleen Turner
The finalists from Scientists and Entertainers will be revealed on Wednesday 16 January live on The One Show (BBC One, 19-19.30pm).
Emmeline Pankhurst, Mahatma Gandhi, Helen Keller and Martin Luther King Jr
Presented by Sanjeev Bhaskar
Muhammad Ali, Pelé, Billie Jean King and Tanni Grey-Thompson
Presented by Clare Balding
The finalists from Activists and Sports Stars will be revealed on Wednesday 23 January live on The One Show (BBC One, 19-19.30pm).
Artists & writers
Virginia Woolf, Pablo Picasso, Alfred Hitchcock and Andy Warhol
Presented by Lily Cole
The finalist from Artists & Writers will be revealed on Wednesday 30 January live on The One Show (BBC One, 19-19.30pm).
The Grand Live Final
Tuesday 5 February O2 London
What makes a great sporting Icon? One debate we had during the shortlisting was the effect an individual had at the time and the legacy that that they had long afterwards. So for us, at jjheritage, a sportsperson can be great, but not necessarily Iconic. Take the first great female all-rounder Lottie Dod, born in 1871, who first won Wimbledon aged fifteen in 1887, then again in 1888, then three times in a row 1891, 1892, 1893 before retiring due to not wanting to be seen as a ‘trophy hunter’. Dod won the British Ladies Amateur golf championship in 1904, also representing her country in field hockey and won a silver medal at the 1908 London Olympic Games, with her brother taking a gold medal. She also excelled in several Winter sports, particularly figure skating, also becoming proficient in mountaineering and extended cycling tours through Europe. But although undoubtedly a British sporting great, Dod competed as an amateur, and, although pioneering several aspects of training (such as playing against top men of her day), clothing (shorter skirts and more practical dress) and administration, ultimately she player sport to please herself. What you will see from the Icons we as a panel selected across the twentieth century, Muhammad Ali, Pelé, Billie Jean King and Tanni Grey-Thompson, is that they have had a much broader effect on society, internationally, and that sets them apart even from the sporting greats.
The Changing Face of British Motor Sport Museums: Donington Park Museum Closes and The Silverstone Experience launches in 2018
The newly launched £18.2 million The Silverstone Experience (TSE) will open its doors in 2019 at the entrance to the circuit, with commanding views from the café area over the infield, as well as parts of the circuit. With half the funds provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the dedicated museum and archive spaces in a refurbished World War Two aircraft hangar, will aim to ensure that the heritage of Silverstone and post-war British motor racing is interpreted for today’s public as well as protected for future generations.
The Silverstone Experience aims to use contemporary history and sports heritage, particularly to inspire young people into Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine, or STEMM subjects, by celebrating the circuit and the country’s position at the heart of the global motor sport industry and tickets are now on sale for 2019. Donington Park Racing Circuit is also a complex site with a rich and diverse history of settlement and use from pre-historic times to the present day, encompassing both tangible and intangible heritage values. The geology, topography and landscape have played an important role in shaping and influencing the use of the site. Some of which can be still evidenced at the site today. However, one of the major challenges for motor racing circuits is how to combine scheduling for important motorcycle, sports car, classic car and cycling events. Most days of the year, the circuit is in use in some form and operates very much as a year-round business, even while races and big events might total 60 days annually.
It is worth saying here that Silverstone was by no means the first, or the only, British motor racing circuit to host Grand Prix or Formula One races, and its transition to become a motor sport circuit after World War Two was by no means assured. Firstly, the most important British circuit at the start of the twentieth century was Brooklands, which was inaugurated privately by Ethel and Hugh Locke-King in 1907, and operated as the locus of fashionable British motor sport until 1939. Always associated as much with aviation as with other forms of motor sport, Brooklands took its cues from horse racing, was considered an ‘Ascot of Automobilism’ and racing an elite social context. The first British Grand Prix motor race was established at Brooklands in 1926 and held again in 1927.
Located in Leicestershire, near to the town of Castle Donington and East Midlands Airport, the land on which the circuit sits, was originally part of the Donington Hall estate. The circuit was created by Derby motor-cyclist and garage-owner Fred Craner as a park circuit, whereas Brooklands had been part of a farmed estate. Craner inaugurated motorcycle races during the early part of 1931 and, following improvements to the track in 1933, the circuit became particularly famous in the remaining years before the Second World War. Following the inauguration of car racing earlier that year, the first Donington Park Trophy 20-lap race was held on 7 October 1933, and won by the Earl Howe in a Bugatti. But the British were about 17 seconds a lap slower than their rivals in future events.
The famous Silver Arrows, the German Mercedes and Auto Union Grand Prix cars between 1934 and 1939, raced at Donington. This controversy again helped to publicise the circuit. Although the naming of the cars as Silver Arrows is itself a contested story, the machines themselves were part of a racing program that was German-government subsidized and consequently faster, better financed, technologically more advanced and reliable than other marques. Each country had a racing colour before the cars were numbered, and whereas German automobiles had previously been white, the silver cars raced against British vehicles with a green livery, blue French machines and red Italian coupés.
Even more outrageous, as far as his mother was concerned, there was a British driver in the German cars, and Richard ‘Dick’ Seaman would go on to become one of Hitler’s favourite drivers, winning the German Grand Prix in 1938, and racing also at Donington in what was considered to be his home Grand Prix however, some consider the Donington Grand Prix of 1937 and 1938 non-championship races. Seaman died while racing in 1939, and a memorial to him remains on site at Donington, so there are many overlapping controversies from this period to unpick!
After World War Two, Donington Park circuit fell into disrepair, as it had been used as a military vehicle depot. Tom Wheatcroft, a local entrepreneur and vehicle collector, invested first in the motor museum, which largely consisted of his collection and opened in 1973, and then for racing in 1977. Although there were many motor sport innovations, from motor cross events, rallying, festivals of motor sport and truck racing, the circuit failed ultimately to expand sufficiently to attract Formula One racing permanently, in the twenty first century, although the 1993 European Grand Prix, won in heavy rain by Ayrton Senna with Damon Hill second, has been described as the ‘Drive of the Decade.’ Again, there is a memorial to Senna outside the Donington collection. Following some legal issues over leasehold and rent, the circuit was sold in 2017 to Jonathan Palmer’s Motor Sport Vision, which owns several other circuits and the museum closed on 5 November 2018. As well as an extensive collection of Formula One and Grand Prix cars, the collection had a wide range of ephemera and other vehicles, as can be seen from this web archived page.
Although the Wheatcroft collection on which the Donington heritage visitor attraction was based, was an individual’s passion, The Silverstone Experience will house and protect the archive of the British Racing Driver’s Club (BRDC) in a purpose built facility, as well as engaging the next generation of STEMM students. This is arguably a nationally significant collection since 1928, and so preservation and conservation an important part of the future. Although it was sad to see the Donington collection close its doors, there are considerable signs for optimism around motor sport heritage, with Heritage Lottery Fund grants supporting technological innovation at Brooklands and newly developed museums dedicated to British drivers, such as Jim Clark. There are also extensive sporting collections at both the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu, as well as the National Motor Cycle Museum in Solihull, and Coventry Transport Museum.
Sporting Reunions, and Contemporary Museum Collections: Case Studies of Manchester Corinthians, formed 1949 and Harry Batt’s ’71 England Team
Having been selected as the academic lead to The National Football Museum to assist with the purchase of the 25,000 item Chris Ungar collection of women’s football memorabilia, Jean Williams has subsequently been working with the museum to interpret the collection. A key issue arising out of what is now undoubtedly the most important global collection of women’s football items, dating back to 1869, was the need to develop contemporary collections for future use. As a direct result, Prof Williams and the National Football Museum held a reunion of women football players, over 2 days on 30 September and 1 October 2018 to mark National Sporting Heritage day.
The initiative sought out those active before 1993 when the FA formally took control of women’s football, and one of the key teams to be reunited was Harry Batt’s England team who represented their country, albeit unofficially, at the Women’s World Cup in Mexico in 1971. There were also important England players who attended, including Captain Gill Coultard, who has 119 caps, and Kerry Davies who scored 44 goals in 80 England games. Many of the Manchester Corinthians FC team attended, whose eldest member at the reunion was 84 years of age and had been part of the founding of the club in 1949. Of course this wider reunion will be the focus of future work. However, the focus of this blog is firstly, the Manchester Corinthians FC and secondly, the unofficial England women’s team to represent the country at the Mexico 1971 Women’s World Cup.
The Manchester Corinthians team 1949
The Corinthian Ladies were founded in 1949 by Percy Ashley, with the intention to provide his daughter, Doris, with the opportunity to play football. The name was chosen to reflect the amateur Corinthian values that had preceded professionalism. Accordingly, the team was made up of career women, from typists to machinists.
Gladys Aiken took charge of the team in the late 1960s, and kept a series of scrapbooks to trace the journey of the Corinthians. This gives an insight into women managing their own teams, well before it was conventional for women to work in the football industry. Interestingly Pat Dunn was also allowed to referee an international match in 1969. Pat would later travel to the unofficial World Cup with Harry Batt’s team as a chaperone and trainer.
The Corinthians were aged between 13 and 40 years of age, and often played against their second team, the Nomads, eventually forming a third team, the Allstars, as well. The team trained at Fog Lane Park in Didsbury every Sunday, whatever the weather. There are snapshots of them trailing buckets of water to the changing rooms nearby as there was no running hot water. After tours of South America, Europe and North Africa, the team eventually raised over £275,000 for charity, mostly the Red Cross and Oxfam.
The players also confirmed the stories of Bert Trautmann acting as official interpreter for the Manchester Corinthians team who, representing England, won a tournament held in Germany in 1957 and provided their snapshots of him. Some players donated shirts, memorabilia and so on to the museum.
The Organisation of the Unofficial Women’s World Cups of 1970 and 1971
Held out side the auspices of FIFA only one year after Mexico hosted the men’s world cup, this was a key moment in the history of women’s football because it proved a large commercial market for women-only tournaments. This built upon a successful Women’s World Championship in Italy in 1970. The opening games were played in front of crowds of 80,000 people. England played in group 1 against the hosts Mexico and Argentina. Group 2 comprised France, Italy, and Denmark. Using the memories of players at the reunion, some as young as thirteen, the discussion argues that, because of the historic marginalization of women in written documentation in sporting archives, social strategies, such as reunions, combined with oral history research and social media connectivity can help to develop contemporary collections policies in museums and heritage offers.
After the Italy unofficial women’s world cup of 1970, a two-day conference, on 5th and 6th December 1970, in the Ambassador’s Hotel Torino, Italy, convened the first world congress of the International Federation of Femenin Football (FIFF).
Following the use of a mascot, World Cup Willie, in a world cup for the first time in the men’s world Cup in England 1966, thereafter, sporting tournaments of all kinds used a mascot to promote their event, including unofficially at the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble. However, Mexico played a key role in promoting mascots as emblems of various tournaments: there was an unofficial dove and jaguar mascot at the 1968 Mexico Olympic Games, and Juanito for the FIFA men’s World Cup tournament of 1970. The mascot for the unofficial women's world cup in 1971 was Xochitel, the flower.
Photograph courtesy of Leah Caleb taken in the Aztec Stadium a few days before the start of the tournament, showing some sun damage.
Individuals from Left to Right:
Back row: Keith Batt (Mascot), June Batt (Assistant Manager), Players - Marlene Collins, Lilian Harris (GK) Evonne Farr, Jean Breckon, Carol Wilson (Capt), Christine Lockwood, Jill Stockley, Pat Dunn (Trainer & Chaperone), Harry Batt (Manager)
Front Row: Valerie Cheshire, Louise Cross, Gillian Sayell, Paula Rayner, Janice Barton, Trudy McCaffery, Leah Caleb
The England ’71 team
When the team departed for Mexico on Thursday 5th August 1971, there was no direct flight so they went via London – New York – Mexico City. Christine Lockwood, who was fifteen years old at the time remembered the engine of the plane from New York catching fire and returning to land before repairs enabled the team to continue. The team did not return until Tuesday 7th September 1971 from Mexico City via Paris to London. Since most of the players had not been on a plane before, this must have been a very exciting time! Though they were not so successful on the pitch. Television cameras, media coverage and large crowds. The stories are just emerging and more research is to follow.
We concluded the two days of reunion with a civic reception at the Lord Mayor’s suite in Manchester. Here we toasted the success of the players, their fortitude and their friendship. We were also treated to a song often used by the Manchester Corinthians.
Please, if you have any more details of women players from the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and 1970s do get in touch.
In her short life, the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, (6 July 1907 – 13 July 1954) became world famous in her own right. The V&A exhibition, Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up takes the artist’s fashioning of her own image as its starting point and shows how Kahlo’s autobiographical work could blend realism, folk art and surrealism in its stylistic references. Kahlo was fiercely independent from a young age, and seemingly fearless in her work, although her private letters, of which there were few on display in the exhibition, give a different view of her life.
After overcoming childhood polio, and a catastrophic accident in 1925 that would see her endure 32 surgeries, and many more surgical procedures, in 1929 she married Diego Rivera. Of the relationship, Kahlo is said to have reported to a friend: ‘I have suffered two serious accidents in my life, one in which a streetcar ran over me….the other accident was Diego.’ When they married, he was 42, had already been married twice and had four children, and she was 22 years of age. The recent V&A exhibition, curated by Circa Henestrosa and Claire Wilcox, presents an extraordinary collection of personal artifacts, paintings and clothing, plus a few key works. When Kahlo died, Rivera, whom she had married twice by then, insisted that her collections be locked away for 50 years in a bathroom/ storeroom after her death, so this exhibition has never before been seen outside Mexico.
Kahlo and the Gaze
In many of her small, intense, and painfully celebratory autobiographical paintings Frida Kahlo looks out at us, while we look at aspects of her, and her life. Is she watching us, are we watching her or is the gaze mutual? For an artist who painted her own image so regularly, and forensically, Kahlo makes herself much less attractive in her painted work than she was in life. With her prominent monobrow, downy moustache, and contorted, sometimes smashed, body we are encouraged to see the beauty in the humanity, not an idealized self-image. Compare the paintings with the photographs and we can see that from the many images taken of her as a child by her father that she was a compelling, mysterious, and fearless subject for the camera. As an artist, Kahlo is therefore using the painted media to tell us about her interior life, and her image is a metamorphosis, open to constant reinterpretation. It is a subject about which we have been fascinated for some time.
In 2005 jjheritage was fortunate enough to travel to Mexico City through work and to visit Museo Casa Azul, Kahlo’s birthplace and final residence, in the quiet residential area of Coyoacán in Mexico City. The Museo Casa Azul has been opened as a museum since 1957, the year of Rivera’s death. It remains today between similar still-private homes built around the turn of the 20th century.
Close by in Coyoacán, is the Museo Casa de León Trotsky where he was assassinated with an ice pick, and remains a major tourist draw, with his bathrobe still on the hook where he left it. Trotsky and Kahlo were said to have been lovers and, both she and Rivera had multiple relationships outside marriage. Their houses were centres for artists, intellectuals and political thinkers and the couple were Communists; housing Trotsky for two years before he had his own home. Kahlo was also bisexual and her female relationships were reflected in paintings, photographs, fine and folk art.
Finally, while in Mexico City jjheritage was able to visit the first marital home of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, the House-Studio Museum, in San Angel. Designed by the couple’s friend, the architect and artist Juan O’Gorman, it is actually two house-studios joined by a bridge. When the couple divorced in 1939, Kahlo moved back to the Blue House. When she and Rivera remarried, he moved to join her there, though he kept the San Angel studios to work.
Exhibition Methodology: Frida Kahlo and her personal effects
The premise of the exhibition is to showcase Kahlo’s artistic output, heavily contextualized by everyday objects such as her clothes, accessories, many medicines, surgical corsets, and even the prosthetic leg she embellished after her leg was amputated shortly before her death. Is this the correct methodology, rather than focusing primarily on her art? There are obvious benefits in that visitors can observe how indomitable a human spirit informed the art-works. As is demonstrated by the part of the exhibition that focuses on the medical treatments Kahlo endured, which is set out on white beds, in place of exhibition displays, it would have been very easy to have been overwhelmed by pain, suffering, and depression. Kahlo’s diary and letters contain some of her doubt, fear, and despair such as her need to have an abortion due to medical complications and a miscarriage that was almost fatal. She was to live and die without her own children, and the contrast with Rivera haunted her. But we can see this in the paintings. Where these objects complement the art works, for those who are familiar with them, is the impulse to be creative from small paper dolls to elaborate hairdressing, using scarves and flowers. Such is the variety of artifacts, that it seems almost that Kahlo is compelled to create.
My reservation about the artifact-heavy exhibition is that, for those who are not familiar with the work, the life becomes primary to the art. We know that Rivera was much more famous in his life, as a leading force in the Mexican Muralist movement, using large scale work to make political points about social equality. By making Kahlo’s artwork secondary to her own life, her own wider political purpose becomes perhaps undermined to the commercial exploitation of her image. Certainly, the array of merchandise in the V&A gift shop indicates that Kahlo’s wider social message has become personalized, individualized and, ultimately, less impactful. It is to be hoped an exhibition of her paintings follows in the UK soon and that it tells of her concern to shape, and influence wider society through embracing both traditional folk identity and modern political thought, rather than to focus solely on her own history and heritage.
Introduction Mexico 1970
With the conclusion of the Mexico World Cup in 1970, the Jules Rimet Trophy had been won for the third time by Brazil, led by Pelé, who beat Italy 4-1 in the Final, and awarded permanently to the team. The modernist poster design incorporated pictograms, also evident in the poster for the 1968 Mexico Olympic Games, as new visual identities, including those of protest, linked artists with graphic sporting communication. Hosting both an Olympic Games and a World Cup within two years at high altitude heralded a new era of sports science as the heat and thin air made conditions difficult.
As to the poster, the pictogram of a simple football again used football as a metaphor for the world as the tournament grew and the global audiences looking on as television allowed live action, for the first time in colour, into people’s living rooms. African nations had joined the seventy one entries for the preliminary competition and Morocco made the last sixteen, along with Israel, El Salvador, Peru, USSR and South American rivals Uruguay and Brazil: the remaining eight teams were European. Innovations included the first red and yellow cards for sending off and cautioning players, and the authorization of two substitutions per team per match.
The mascot was humanized as a small cartoon boy Juanito (little John) a very common name in Mexico. Juanito wore his country’s football strip, casually controlled a football, wearing a sombrero embellished with the words Mexico 70. The Adidas-endorsed Telstar football and other merchandise was now broadcast worldwide and in colour. Russian Telstar communications satellites, launched in 1962 relayed live transatlantic television broadcasts. Telstar passed into all kinds of popular culture from music to games and comics. The Adidas Telstar football was designed for use in the 1970 and 1974 World Cup tournaments.
West Germany 1974
The 1974 FIFA World Cup, the tenth staging of the World Cup, was held in West Germany, including West Berlin and became Germany’s second World Cup success, beating the Netherlands 2-1 in the final. The tournament marked the first time that the current trophy, the FIFA World Cup Trophy, created by the Italian sculptor Silvio Gazzaniga was awarded. West Germany lost a game to East Germany in what was still a divided nation. New teams to the tournament included Australia, Haiti, Poland, Scotland, and Zaire and returning sides included Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and Uruguay. Johan Crujff was at the pinnacle of his genius for the Netherlands but the honours went to Franz Beckenbauer. The poster, designed by Fritz Genkinger, returned to featuring a football player striking the ball as its main theme with the use of colour and broad brush adding to a sense of dynamism and speed. The names of the host cities featured prominently, and subsequently host city posters would be developed to promote regional identity. The mascots were Tip and Tap, two cartoon boys who were meant to represent a unified Germany.
The 1978 World Cup was held in Argentina, during the winter, causing controversy as a military coup had taken place in the country two years earlier. Argentina became the fifth country to win a World Cup on home soil in 1978. However, overt politicization of the victory perhaps tainted this achievement, since for two years in the build up to the tournament General Jorge Rafael Videla and other junta chiefs used the World Cup as a form of propaganda for their ‘Dirty War’ on political dissidents, many of whom became ‘the Disappeared’. The numbers were shocking, Amnesty International estimated that there had been 10,000 murders; 15,000 disappearances and 8,000 prisoners between 1976 and 1978. Although it was the first time that the number of national associations entering the preliminary World Cup tournament had exceeded 100, the poster, featured two men hugging and presumably celebrating a goal. When seen up close, the heavily pixilated players are rather spooky, as if they too are gradually disappearing from view. Again, the host cities are prominent. Very like Juanito, Gauchito the mascot was again a cartoon boy wearing Argentine colours and a neckerchief.
Ironically under these circumstances, a new figurine was inaugurated that remains part of World Cup ritual today. The FIFA Fair Play award started out as a certificate given to the team considered to have demonstrated the fairest play during the World Cup tournament and soon graduated into
a statue inspired by cartoon character Sport Billy. Tunisia achieved a first win for African football at the tournament, beating Mexico 3-1. Scotland had gone into the tournament with considerable optimism, having beaten Czechoslovakia, the current European champions but a 3-1 defeat to Peru dashed manager Ally MacLeod’s hopes.
Spain hosted an expanded 1982 World Cup Finals tournament which featured twenty-four teams; the first expansion since 1934. Surrealist Joan Miró designed the tournament poster and died in 1983, making this one of his most high profile late works. By then, each host city also commissioned a poster in a signature artistic style of each city’s culture and regional identities became much more important. For instance, the print for Barcelona by Antoni Tàpies is one of many of these regional posters held at the National Football Museum collections. Tàpies combined abstract mural and collage techniques of the Dua al Set movement that arose in Catalonia after World War Two as the region struggled for independence. It has a very contemporary graffiti-style appearance as a result. The mascot was Naranjito, an orange with humanized features and a squat shape in humorous reference to football itself.
The flair teams, France and Brazil, were knocked out by better organised squads from West Germany and Italy respectively. These two teams met in the Final, where the Italians beat West Germany 3-1 to win the trophy for a record-equalling three times. Cameroon, Kuwait and New Zealand were amongst the new nations to the tournament. Although the innovation of the penalty shoot-out had been made in 1974, this was the first time that they had been needed and, when West Germany defeated France through this method, it became something of a specialism, winning further shoot-outs in 1986, 1990 and 2006. This has not been the case for England.
Conclusion Mexico 1986
Mexico became the first country to host a World Cup twice in 1986. A young American popular culture specialist, Annie Leibowitz, designed a series of posters: the first time a photographer was commissioned to create official designs. She also did a series of official photos, having begun her career less than ten years before on Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair. Pictographic influences were also much in evidence. However, the visual language of advertising and promotion increasing influenced poster design. The National Football Museum has a collection of Leibowitz limited edition images that feature a man, with a football in a desert environment. There is no typography or lettering of any kind and the relationship of the photographs to the World Cup is less obvious than in other posters. Gary Lineker was the leading goalscorer of the tournament and the world enjoyed being introduced to the Mexican Wave. Iraq made their debut, and Northern Ireland returned for a second time. Thanks to Diego Maradona’s Hand of God, and a second Goal of the Century, England were eliminated and Argentina went on to lift the trophy after beating West Germany. The mascot was a jalapeño pepper, called Pique, and the action on the pitch was indeed spicy. One of the classic World Cup tournaments. The next blog will look at a new era of selling the World Cup, beginning with Italia ’90.
As hosts of the 1966 World Cup, England, and particularly the Football Association, gave overseas teams a gracious welcome. The tournament gave rise to an unprecedented level of commercial exploitation, exemplified by the first World Cup mascot; a puckish lion called World Cup Willie who wore a union jack waistcoat, and walked with a comical swagger. Popular and academic histories of the World Cup tend to focus almost wholly on the football played, and the outcome in sporting terms. However, the poster and the commercialization of the tournament are as interesting as the Portugese striker Eusebio being the top scorer with nine goals, followed by Haller of West Germany and Bene of Hungary with five and four goals respectively. Awarded the tournament in 1960, the Football Association lost no time in achieving the 1.6 million ticket sales required to make the occasion a financial success. Firstly, no ground with a capacity below 50,000 spectators would be awarded a World Cup game. Due to regulations that all World Cup matches were to be played on pitches at least 115 yards long and 75 yards wide, high profile stadia close to large urban populations, like Arsenal’s Highbury, could not be selected as there wasn't room to expand the playing surface. Everton’s Goodison Park fared better with the adaptations. Similarly, with television broadcast now standard, the Press box had to accommodate over 40 people and technical changes were made: new cabling at Everton alone cost £10,000. The tournament was hosted across seven venues in Birmingham, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesborough, Sheffield and Sunderland.
A staff of thirty five began to promote and sell tickets well beforehand to achieve the sellout figures: Final tickets were only available as part of season tickets to help in selling out other matches. There was the question of balancing sales to overseas and domestic supporters. Since British ticket prices were generally lower than those in other countries, this helped to sell to both domestic and overseas consumers. Those in the luxury seats for ten games, including the Final, could purchase them for £25 15shillings, whereas standing tickest for the same events were as cheap as £3 17 shillings and sixpence. But what role did the posters play in selling the tournament?
The 1966 Poster
Posters played a major role in publicizing the World Cup since its inception and, as interest in the event burgeoned in 1966, so did the professionalization of graphic design. In design terms, England appeared to be personified by the intensely nationalistic mascot, World Cup Willie. The mascot was symbolic of the new era of merchandising and, behind the friendly and furry façade, the little lion had a Beatles haircut, so more than ever, youth was targeted by football as consumers. As David Gill has shown, British military regiments and US sports teams had used live animals as adopted mascots since the nineteenth century, but with the innovation of Walt Disney and Warner Brothers of merchandising their cartoon character mascots, in the 1930s, a new marketing trend translated from the entertainment industries to sport (David Gill ‘Sports Mascots: An Analysis of the Factual and Legal History of Character Mascots’ Trademark World 218 pp. 36-9 www.ipworld.com accessed 25 June 2018).
The 1966 World Cup could not have taken place without government support: this reflected Prime Minister Harold Wilson’s modernisation of the British economy with £500,000 of central government funding to improve the seven host venues. Various state-funded communication and transport providers benefitted also, such as the Post Office and British Transport, and private enterprise from airlines to newspapers who had a range of advertising of their own. A range of non-profit charity providers and voluntary clubs also contributed. Because World Cup Willie was a visual representation, visitors who could not speak English were able to see his likeness on temporary signs used by London Transport to get visitors to Wembley and White City stadiums during the tournament, and provided a simple way of highlighting relevant information.
As the FA said at the time:
It was of paramount importance that as much publicity as possible should be obtained with the minimum outlay. The spending of large sums of money which would have been required for a national, or international advertising campaign could never be countenanced. So every possible avenuewas explored to obtain maximum coverage with minimum expenditure. With no newspaper advertising contemplated, attractive posters were an absolute necessity as a substitute to keep the posters in the public eye.
Over 100,000 posters were displayed across venues. As to the design itself, a golden football in the top right hand corner of the design has been kicked by World Cup Willie, who wears a union flag-embossed football strip, on which the words World Cup are prominent. The union flag features again in the official logo which was placed parallel to World Cup Willie on the bottom right. There are many more beautiful World Cup poster designs but this was playful and humorous which is perhaps all the more remarkable given the huge pressure under which the FA and the England national team hosted the tournament.
The promoter of World Cup Willie was Walter Tuckwell and Associates Limited, was at the forefront of the new character merchandising industry with licensed products including James Bond, Noddy, Dr Who and other BBC series. Tuckwell bought the merchandising agency rights from the FA and complained that the emblem was too dull so the FA commissioned his company to design a mascot. Through through the work of Richard Culley and artist Reginald Hoy, World Cup Willie went through a series of design modifications. The principle of having a cartoon mascot was instantly popular amongst football clubs in the 1960s. This also set a tradition that has spread across major tournaments and in professional clubs, becoming a standard means of merchandising and promoting related memorabilia.
There were also more practical ways of branding the tournament as British, such as the Home Office confirming that the FA permission to use the coat of arms on the official emblem of the tournament. Designed by Arthur Bew, a commercial artist, the insignia was not open to a public competition as had been originally discussed. The model of an official logo, a tournament poster and a mascot would remain the key three ways of promoting World Cups until the innovation of ‘Artmarks’ (a stylized version of the trophy) for the Korea-Japan tournament in 2002. The only person to seem absolutely sure that England would win all along was the manager, Alf Ramsey and he was knighted for his efforts in the New Year’s Honours list: hence ‘Arise Sir Alf.’
World Cup blog 54, 58, 62 posters, images courtesy of the National Football Museum.
The World Cup tournaments in 1954, 1958 and 1962 were also about new forms of confidence and innovative markets. The designs becoming increasingly simple and abstract. The 1954 World Cup in Switzerland was amongst the first to be televised, although relatively few people owned their own set, and would probably have watched at a friend or neighbor, and this marked a new age in visualizing football. The 1954 World Cup was the first to be televised and marked a new way of watching sport, in that people would increasingly follow the tournament on screen than rather than through the press and listening to the radio. The Swiss commercial artist Herbert Leupin, who had produced work for Coca Cola and other multinational companies designed the official emblem, the first trademarked for the World Cup. A graphic designer, Leupin specialized in poster design, and was recognized with many international awards: he also painted and illustrated children’s books.
In this design, the football is the most central design element, and it swells the back of the goal net while an open mouthed and outstretched goalkeeper looks back in surprise. The goalkeeper also looks out at the reader of the poster. Like Laborde’s 1930 design, the figure of the goalkeeper is frozen in a moment of intense drama. It seems as if we see the goal happening in real time. Unlike Laborde’s goalkeeper though, who rises transcendent across the goal, this keeper has been beaten and the human connection is his distress at the moment of defeat.
Increasing technocracy and specialism were also evident in the resulting victory of Germany. The Federal Republic of Germany national team head coach Sepp Herberger had invited German sports shoe manufacturer Adi Dassler, owner of Adidas, to travel with the team in 1954. After reaching the Final against Hungary, the German team countered the rainy conditions in the second half of the match by replacing shorter screw-in studs with longer replacements that gave them more stability. Adidas technology achieved mythical status when the 2-2 first half draw became a German 3-2 victory with six minutes to go. This heralded a significant moment in post-war German national pride, known as ‘The Miracle of Berne’.
Eyzaguirre boots 1962 Image courtesy of the National Football Museum. Luis Armando Eyzaguirre Silva (born in Santiago, Chile on 22 June 1939), played right midfield in the Universidad de Chile football team, known as the Ballet Azul, with which he won four national championships. Eyzaguirre played in the Chilean national team who took third place in the 1962 FIFA World Cup and played one match in the 1966 FIFA World Cup in Sunderland. Eyzaguirre played 39 times for his country between 1959 and 1966.
When a new, proudly mixed-race Brazil team beat hosts Sweden in 1958 to lift the Jules Rimet Trophy for the first time, there was some redemption for their previous defeat as hosts in 1950. The team carried the trophy on the back of a municipal fire engine through the avenues of Rio to the Presidential Palace. The 1958 World Cup poster was typical of the minimalist Swedish graphic design style of the time featuring very uncluttered typography and where the words ‘Football, Futbol, Fussball’ have as much prominence as the football itself. The player who has kicked the ball is in its shadow and, again, it is a transcendent image, as the ball flies off to the top right of the image, trailing a banner of the flags of the competing nations as it soars. Also known as the International Style of graphic design, the poster promoted the Coupe de Jules Rimet and its simplicity, minimalism and functionality reflect a typical Scandinavian design style of the 1950s.
The seventh World Cup competition in Chile 1962 saw Pele and his Brazilian team secure their second successive World Cup crown, beating Czechoslovakia 3-1 in the final. The poster design is much more abstract, and only the ball and the globe feature on the poster, with the lettering to announce the tournament; there was no human element. This was an otherworldly design, set against a green-blue background, by Chilean sculptor and graphic artist, Galvarino Ponce intended to evoke the space-age and the recent Sputnik missions. This was an ostentatiously modern design which figuratively represented ‘world’ and ‘football’. As Brenda Elsey has shown, the Chilean organizing committee presented a small, humble and efficient country with a mainly white, European-influenced culture, embodied by the slogan ‘Because we have nothing, we want to do it all’ (Brenda Elsey Citizens and Sportsmen: Fútbol and Politics in Twentieth Century Chile Austin: University of Texas Press, 2011 p. 196). Compared with the Argentine bid which emphasised the infrastructure of a much larger country and a significant contribution to the world game embodied by their representative ‘We can have the World Cup tomorrow. We have it all’, FIFA chose the plucky underdog. The poster design therefore represents little sense of Chilean culture, but, as a diplomat as well as an artist, Ponce’s design was conscious of drawing the world’s attention to the host nation, via football.
The next blog will discuss the unprecedented commercialism of the 1966 World Cup, and see an important part of the marketing mix for the tournament, the first World Cup mascot World Cup Willie.
Thirty-two nations entered the qualifiers for the 1934 World Cup, hosted by Italy. Twelve of the sixteen teams at the Finals were European and Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, and the United States also sent teams. Uruguay declined to defend their world title. Established Italian artist, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, designed the 1934 poster with a diagonal banner of the flags in the background. At the centre, an angular, almost cubist, player is about to strike the ball. If Guillermo Laborde’s 1930 design embodied defence, Marinetti’s 1934 poster focused on attack. Marinetti had co-founded Futurism, publishing a Futurist Manifesto in Le Figaro, Paris in 1909 and football was one subject amongst many that he painted featuring large passionate crowds, struggle and velocity.
The 1934 poster unsettles the viewer as we see a tipping point; only the lettering observed vertical and horizontal planes. Marinetti frequently used poetry and lettering in his work. Some of the venue posters were more chaotic overlays of images and lettering, as if compiled and pasted together in a rush.
Marinetti was an artist in decline at the time of the 1934 World Cup. He had wanted Futurism to become the official artistic style of Italian fascism, which Mussolini resisted. The 1934 World Cup poster promoted a modern Italy, nationalistic and unafraid of political violence. Against this background Italy’s win was a major propaganda victory for the host country.
Italy not only became the second county to win a World Cup as hosts, but went on to retain the title four years later in France. As John Foot has argued ‘During the Duce’s reign, Italy won two world cups and an Olympic gold medal. Fascism was good for Italian football, and football was good for fascism (John Foot Calcio: A History of Italian Football (London: Harper Perennial, 2006) p. 33).
This was especially the case given that Olympic football lapsed from the programme of the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. Italy’s win in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games and the 1938 World Cup hosted by France were both also ominous victories, as World War Two loomed. The Henri Desmé lithographs for the 1938 World Cup resonate with the political climate in Europe. Heroic realist style linked with commercial advertising, designed to impress. The static player dominates the design and, with his foot on the ball, by extension, the globe. Sculptural power and force would deliver the future, perhaps.
Like many fans of football, Willy Meisl began to look forward to the 1950 World Cup in Brazil at least a year before it happened. Meisl began a debate about what ‘Soccer’s Road to Rio’ meant for global football. This was the first time that England competed. English, Irish, Welsh and Scottish fans could now muse upon what World Cup football meant for their respective national teams, unlike a combined British Olympic team.
The poster for the 1950 World Cup shows us the public image of Brazil, at home and abroad. Contemporary fans would recognise the awestruck Meisl as he tried to convey the size of the logistical challenge of those seeking to travel to Brazil. In June 1950 a fleet of planes will carry a very heavily insured cargo from many corners of the word to Rio De Janeiro. The final itself will be played in Rio’s giant stadium, a masterpiece of modern sports architecture that can hold a 155,000 crowd…Many hundred thousands of pounds are involved: transport and accommodation of the 16 teams alone will swallow £100,000 (Willy Meisl ‘Soccer’s Road to Rio’ World Sports August 1949 (London: Country and Sporting Publications Ltd, 1949) p. 5).
Football-related cultural transfer was evident. Arsenal had toured Brazil to acclaim and intensified discussions of national playing styles. While Italy had retained the third championship, and the last of the pre-war World Cup tournaments in 1938 in an intensely politicized atmosphere, there was widespread sympathy for defending champions as, in May 1949, the Superga air crash, in Turin, killed many stars. Big, modern hoist cities included Sao Paulo, Rio Grande and Bel Horizonte. Rio de Janeiro was at that time Brazil’s capital (Brazilia later became capital in 1960) and the Maracanã stadium was specially constructed. Would Italy be able to win the World Championship for a third time? Or would the host nation claim the title?
The clarity of the single leg and boot design on the poster united the flags of the competing countries on the sock that provided the main diagonal feature. The boot about to move the ball, reflected the host country’s confidence. Elements of football-related cultural transfer were much in evidence, as over 1.3 million spectators took in 22 matches. By this time FIFA had 70 member nations and there were new football countries in evidence at the thirteen team Final tournament, including Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, England, Italy, Mexico, Paraguay, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Uruguay, USA and Yugoslavia. Unlike previos World Cups, in 1950 the winner was determined by a Final Round stage. The final four teams (Spain, Sweden, Brazil Uruguay) played games against each other, instead of a knockout format. Brazil were one point ahead of Uruguay going into their match on 16 July, and needed only to avoid defeat to become world champions. English referee George Reader oversaw the Final, but although Brazil scored Friaça, Uruguay took home the World Cup trophy for the second time thanks to goals by Schiaffino and and Ghiggia. A much anticipated celebration in Brazil was not to be, and this led to national shock known as the ‘Maracanã blow’. Brazil changed their shirt design for future tournaments to the colours we now associate with the team, and the “Phantom of ‘50” would resurface many times again in World Cups and internationals.
The designer for the 1950 poster was chosen by a public competition, widely mediated in 1948, a collaboration between the World Cup organizing committee and the commission for the Brazilian society of arts, led by its President Mario Polo and a judging panel of Professors Castro Filho, Henrique Salvio, and Alberto Sims. One hundred and fourteen entries were reduced to a longlist of fourteen, with four finalists and a winner J. Ney Damasceno, from Rio de Janeiro. Damasceno won a prize of thirty seven thousand cruzeiros, although little is then subsequently known of him, and he does not seem to have been an established designer. So these processes of selection are in themselves interesting for how World Cup posters were chosen to represent the nation, not just by the respective football authorities, but also artistic experts.
In the next blog we will look at the World Cups in the 1950s and 1960s, before a special edition on 1966 and how this changed the corporate promotion of World Cup tournaments.
Introduction-The Olympic Games and the World Cup
In the approach to the World Cup hosted for the first time by Russia in 2018, this is the first in a series of blogs about how poster designs, and other commercial marketing techniques, such as mascots and trademarked goods promote the tournament, even to those who are not fans of football.
The historical development of official World Cup posters provide a fascinating insight into the growth of the world’s most popular sport. There were important continuities with the modern Olympic Games, which were inaugurated in 1896 in Athens. From 1908, the Olympic Games staged a small but influential football tournament, out of which the World Cup eventually developed. Formed in 1904, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), football’s world governing body, agreed to recognise the Olympic tournament as a world championship for amateurs following the very well attended matches in Stockholm in 1912. The inter-war period included a particularly well-attended series of matches at the 1920 Antwerp Olympic Games, won by Belgium. Uruguay won the Olympic tournaments in 1924 (Paris) and 1928 (Amsterdam).
The First World Cup and An Invented Tradition of Home Advantage
The first FIFA World Cup was hosted and won by Uruguay in 1930. This invented a tradition whereby home advantage seemed to be conferred upon the hosts but this was by no means a guarantee. Uruguay’s victory coincided with centenary celebrations of the first Uruguayan constitution, and ten matches showcased the Estadio Centenario in Montevideo, built specially for the tournament. There were seven South American and two North American squads, and only four of the thirteen teams were European (Belgium, France, Romania and Yugoslavia).
Local artist Guillermo Laborde designed an oil painting of a goalkeeper rising to tip the ball over the crossbar and, in so doing, set a tradition of winning a public competition to have his design reproduced as a World Cup poster. The original painting became a national treasure and an original in the Uruguay Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales (national art museum) has been restored and conserved recently.
Images courtesy of the National Football Museum
The Loneliness of the Goalkeeper
The Guillermo Laborde curvilinear design for the first World Cup poster in 1930 resonates with contemporary graphic and industrial trends. With a population around 2 million people in 1930, the Uruguayan economy had begun increasingly to industrialise. President José Batlle y Ordóñez had a major influence in the establishment of a circle of fine art, and business interests known as the Circulo de Bellas Artes in Montevideo in 1905. Studios were established for the graphic and decorative arts, architecture and construction and Circulo teachers included Laborde (1886-1940) who had already exhibited his work publicly.
Circulo graduates formed the core of Uruguay’s planismo movement, so-called because it derived from Cézannes techniques of building up an image with levels of opposing planes. However, natural forms including animals and plants were strong influences in Uruguyan art deco, which influenced the buildings of Montevideo in the 1920s and 1930s and design of the World Cup poster. As well as the construction of Estadio Centenario in just nine months, the iconic Palacio Salvo had been finished in 1929, and was, at that time, South America's tallest building.
The 1930 Laborde World Cup poster incorporated planismo elements, with layered contrasts of typography and the crossbar. Meanwhile, the sinuous goalkeeper provides a strong human diagonal element. We see his loneliness and isolation. The design translated to other artifacts like enameled pins and posters were reproduced in both colour and monochrome for matches. All of these items are now highly sought after collectibles. There were many stamps, programmes, ticket stubs, medals, pins, cards and other memorabilia from the first World Cup, many of which can be seen on display at the National Football Museum in Manchester. This remained a trend throughout the following tournaments with some very practical artefacts and others more decoratively embellished.
Why a Poster?
Firstly, the process of hosting a World Cup was partly reflected in the design of the poster, and social, economic and political concerns often influenced both the style and topical motifs used by the artist. Secondly, the idea of a football world championship fed into larger debates about a particular nation’s place in the global economic, political and social order. So, the posters reflected the hosts self-image, to both domestic and international audiences. World Cup posters, like Olympic artworks, and their antecedents (including cheap paper bills circulated by hand), acted as both public service announcements and metaphors for spectacle.
The development of World Cup competition out of the Olympic Games helps to explain the centrality of designing a poster as integral to the cultural identity of sporting spectacle. Posters spoke those who did not necessarily share the language of the host country and the integration of text and image became part of football’s visual lexicon. Easily read at a distance, and graphically simple so that those travelling at speed could absorb information, posters simultaneously announced forthcoming events but also spread ideas. World Cup posters distilled in typography and image complex metaphors for the host nation, the cities in which games were played and football as a world-wide cultural industry. On the one hand the host country defined, projected, and invited an international audience to participate in their celebration of football. On the other hand, regional stakeholders of various kinds had to be involved as paying spectators; local venues for the games and as suppliers of tourism services.
Whereas the Olympic Games are a multi-sport, mixed gender tournament held in a single venue, a World Cup is a quite different marketing spectacle, as a single sport, single-gender event held across cities, and, more recently by more than one nation. The visual lexicon of World Cups therefore diverge from Olympic history, with strong elements of civic self-identification for the host cities, as they simultaneously present themselves to an international audience, and to local or regional consumers. France will host the Women’s World Cup in 2019 and the branding will be quite different. This combines design history and commercial display, blending sport, politics, industrial graphics, cultural geography and national representation. But there are also strong and relatively under explored links with fine art, and high culture.
Posters have played a key role in publicizing the World Cup since its inception and, as interest in the event burgeons to new host countries, so has the sophistication of graphic design. Historians have largely neglected the confluence of these aspects of football’s history, and particularly the visual aesthetic of world sport. This extended to representations of each venue, local transport systems and related ephemera. In today’s diverse and instantaneous social and mainstream media environment, posters play an important part in setting the tone, and brand, of each World Cup. They have also become more of an aesthetic and commercial statement than a functional one, because basic information such as the times and dates of matches can be obtained elsewhere. So following blog posts will ask: what values and structures of power in visual representation have World Cup posters signified historically? How have the design features of graphic representation shaped the identity of the World Cup over time?
Posts written by Jean or Joanna.